We believe, you achieve

FAQs

General

Why should I join if ours is an outstanding/good school?

Undoubtedly there is strength in numbers and joining a larger organisation offers security and support. All our academies receive focused appropriate resource to consolidate success or remedy/prevent decline.

Schemes of delegation are tailored to each individual Academy. Where performance is strong, academies and their governing bodies retain significant autonomy. Successful academies will have the scope to develop their system leadership by supporting other schools in the Trust or beyond. This will bring revenue to the provider Academy, as well as providing considerable leadership development opportunity.

As the Trust grows, executive posts will be appointed from within to run clusters of academies. Bespoke professional programmes will ensure that all staff achieve their full potential. We also have a track record of moving schools to outstanding.

Economies of scale in resourcing terms will bring financial savings to our academies, enabling reinvestment in priority areas.

In addition, the core Trust team has significant Ofsted experience which ensures effective preparation for inspection, robust external monitoring and evaluation. It also means that targeted support can be provided to schools potentially identified as “coasting”, or who need support to tackle data decline.

What will happen to our governing body?

Shaw Education Trust operates on the basis of earned autonomy for each Academy. Academy Councils are in place to ensure local governance and accountability, with the Trust Board retaining accountability and control of its academies in line with Department for Education and Education Funding Agency expectations.

If a school is in special measures the Trust Board is legally required to directly intervene to ensure that the school improves.

What will happen to our headteacher?
Where a headteacher is doing a good job, we would of course hope they will stay on to lead the Academy.
Will staff have to re-apply for their jobs?

No, with the exception of the headteacher, all staff will be TUPE’d over to the new Academy on the same terms and conditions.

What happens to pensions? Is length of service respected?
Yes, pensions are retained and length of service is maintained.
Has Shaw Education Trust got any direct experience of school improvement?

Yes, the Trust team comprises experienced and talented Board members with decades of experience in education and school improvement. Our Chief Executive and senior officers are all highly experienced school leaders. Each has a credible track record of school improvement and system leadership and has extensive experience of Ofsted and Inspection. Our Chief Executive was previously the Regional Director for Ofsted in the North West and the rest of the team are ex-HMI or trained Ofsted inspectors.

Additionally, our sponsor Shaw Trust has worked in schools to improve the opportunities available to young people and has over 30 years’ knowledge and expertise in supporting young people from a diverse range of backgrounds into education, training and employment.

Do you respect religious holidays?

As a Trust we respect religious holidays. However, what happens at individual Academy level will be a matter for the headteacher and Academy Council.

Do you have a fixed curriculum you impose?

No, we trust our Academy leaders and Academy Councils to know what is right for their students and community. The Chief Executive, her team and the Trust Board will rigorously monitor and hold the leadership of the Academy to account. We work on a model of intervention in inverse proportion to success – in other words earned autonomy. In practical terms, we would not seek to impose any curriculum or pedagogy on our academies, but work with each Academy leader to ensure that their curriculum is fit for purpose.

Our school is part of an area network - can we continue to be part of it if we join the Trust?

We will work with you to help strengthen those links and networks. We believe that learning from the experience of colleagues in other settings is vital to our own journey, both as individuals and as an organisation.

We have a subject consultant we currently use for support, can this continue?

This would be a decision for the Academy leaders and Academy Council.

Our community really cares about the school and is really engaged. How will you keep parents feeling this is still their school?

The support of families is vital to any school’s success and we would not want those relationships to be undermined in any way through joining our Trust. In fact we would hope they could be strengthened further. Our system of Academy Councils ensures that parents and carers are represented at each of our academies. A nominated representative from the Chairs of the Academy Councils will sit on our Trust Board.

How will you support us during the conversion process so that we can continue to focus on teaching and learning?

Shaw Education Trust is experienced in successfully converting schools through our central team using our legal, HR, financial and management expertise. We also employ the country’s leading legal and education conversion company to take away as much of the work as possible so that you can focus on your students.

What is your policy on uniform and will we have to change our name?

Any decisions over uniform and name would be matters for the Academy leaders and the Academy Council.

Will you change our school day or the pattern of the school year?
Any decision about changes to the school day or the pattern of the school year would be a matter for the Academy leaders and the Academy Council, not the Trust.
Will teachers be employed to work just in one particular Academy, or will they be expected to work across other Shaw Education Trust academies?

Teachers will be employed by Shaw Education Trust and will therefore have the opportunity to work in other Trust academies. We believe that one of the greatest development opportunities for staff will be the possibility of experiencing teaching in other settings. However, terms and conditions for any change in employment would be discussed and agreed with the individual staff member.

How will you train and develop staff?

Our people are the Trust’s greatest asset. We want our teachers, leaders and support staff to have the opportunity to develop their skills and careers. Just as we support students, we will work in partnership with Academy leaders and individuals to ensure that they receive the support they need in order to succeed.

Through a combination of performance reviews, class observations, mentoring and the support, monitoring, challenge, support process, all our staff will have the opportunity to take control of their own career, with the full support of the Trust.

How much do you top slice from our budget and what do we get for this?

Once a school has voted to join the Trust and the Secretary of State has approved the plan, we will cover the costs of the transition. Once the Academy is open, the Trust will continue to provide school improvement and some central services, which will be recharged via the top slice at cost.

School improvement costs, support and programmes will be provided by the central team and via commission. Our current estimates suggest that the top slice would be circa 3-5% from the GAG, but this would depend on how much support the Academy needs. The Trust is run as cost effectively as possible, making no profit and investing resource to accelerate improvement from starting point.

Will you impose your own finance system?

Given the reporting requirements of the auditors, Ofsted, Department for Education, and the Education Funding Agency, our view is that it makes sense to have a single system for all our academies. We will support the implementation and training required.

You say you will conduct a deep dive baseline analysis each year, does that mean if we were expecting an Ofsted we’d effectively be inspected twice?

We would make a decision on a case-by-case basis depending on the timing of the Ofsted visit and conversion dates. Our main aim is to understand the type and level of support an Academy needs and we do not see any real benefit in putting an Academy through two inspections in close succession.

How many academies do you hope that the Trust will have, and over what period?

We are keen that the Trust and its academies are built from strong foundations. We will grow in a managed way so that we are able to add value and give our students the support they deserve.

Our initial approach will be to build clusters of schools that are based near each other. Evidence suggests that local clusters work best – so once we have consolidated the performance and ways of working in one cluster, we will look to establish a second/third cluster.

Our strategy is to ensure the Trust has a broad portfolio of academies covering the full range of phase, sector, specialism and Ofsted grading. Our team has expertise in all types of schools.